Premier League reject ended up homeless – but now he’s CEO of £800m tech firm

One ex-footballer who failed to make it in the Premier League has managed to land on his feet to say the least.

Dean Forbes missed out on becoming a professional footballer despite once being on the books at Crystal Palace although he can't complain too much as he now rakes in millions. Forbes was struggling at 17 with him homeless and also being the primary carer for his mum who had lost her job.

He quickly found himself knee-deep in debt as he tried to keep up with his free-spending mates who had broken into the world of football. His need for an income led to him getting a job at a Motorola call centre but after 20 years of hard work, he now finds himself well and truly up the business ladder.

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Forbes would go on to lead a major software firm and last year Forterro was sold for an eye-watering $1billion (£823million). His net worth now stands at around £40m.

Speaking to Business Chief, he said: "I describe the start of my career journey as a twice-homeless failed footballer who found himself doing telesales to service a mountain of debt that he'd accumulated to keep up with football friends. I’m really grateful for that debt because it meant I had to fail at football quickly in order to get into the professional working environment."

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Forbes became homeless for the first time at just 14 years old and when he was 17 his mum lost their family home. Now a millionaire, he never complained about the situation and before he knew it he was buying his own home.

He added: "Both times were very difficult for our family. We went into hostel accommodation and the second time, we came out of it by breaking up the family. I was of age so I left home and had to go and make my own way.

"That was around the Motorola time, so I left home which meant my mother needed a smaller place which we were able to find more easily. Four years later, I was actually able to buy her a home."

Forbes quickly climbed the ranks at Motorola and took his first CEO role for Paris-based tech firm KDS. He quickly found that he was successful with each venture and the majority of companies he found himself involved in were soon bought out.

Reflecting on his time at Palace's academy where he played as a centre-back until he was released at 17, he said: "I look back now and realise I can't say I dedicated my life to it because my friends who went on to have great careers, there's a complete contrast in the way we approached football.

"I enjoyed it. I loved it so much and the part that wasn't helpful to me is that it was just a group of my friends from similar estates, so I just laughed six days a week and messed around, played football when it was time to play football, but I wasn't dedicated to it."


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